Spotify really wants users to use its app to listen to podcasts. That desire is reflected in its newly redesigned mobile app, which puts podcasts front and center alongside music.
Spotify has spent the first half of this year by purchasing a handful of podcast companies, including Gimlet Media, Parcast, and Anchor. It didn't bleed all that money for nothing, of course — moving forward, Spotify wants to be the single place on which people listen, search for, and discover podcasts. But as it happens, most people aren't even aware that such content is available within the app. The first step is to let people know, obviously.
The redesigned app, now rolling out to a limited number of users, was first reported by Bloomberg. It places bolded headings for "Music" and "Podcasts" on the app's library page, offering a speedier way for people to find episodes of podcasts they're subscribed to or might be interested in. This new layout makes podcasts as visible as music, and also adds subsequent categories within the two groups. For example, there are Episodes, Downloads, and Shows sections for podcasts so users are able to listen quickly and without much hassle.
Right now, it's not really that difficult to find Spotify's dedicated podcast section — just really, really convoluted. With this redesign, users won't have to sift through categories just to find a podcast to listen to or browse episodes from their subscriptions.
Spotify is coyly addressing the change. It gave a boilerplate statement to The Verge, saying that it's always testing new products. It declined to comment on when this redesigned version would roll out to all users.
Spotify Betting Big On Podcasts
Spotify has spent $500 million acquiring those aforementioned companies thus far. It's competing with Apple and newcomer Luminary to become to go-to place for audio series. Which means improving the element of discoverability is crucial to making this happen. Barry McCarthy, the company's chief financial officer, told Bloomberg that the goal is to get people "there in two clicks versus seven."
Although podcasts are still a relatively small facet of the music industry, it's growing steadily. According to Bloomberg's report, it raked in $314 million in revenue in 2017, and just in the United States alone. In addition, the number of people in the country over the age of 12 who listen to a podcast every week eclipsed 60 million in 2019. Knowing this, it's no wonder why Spotify wants to corner the market.